But One Canto
Variation nº 1, the Doubt
by Luiz Angélico da Costa*
for Artur Eduardo Benevides,
long-course and ocean-sea captain
finder of these "grails".
left blanks in their writings,
mean for things they didn't know"
Pound, in the Canto, XIII)
I learned the answers,
changed the questions”.
man can tell the complete story.
of the Dead Sea)
a multitud e of words go unanswered?
(Job, 11, 2)
saith unto Him, what is truth?
(John, 18, 38)
¿What else haven't I been able to conceal?
I have learned the answers,
ask me no questions;
they actually ask me,
won't be able to answer, for
answers were ——
can't remember where I've put them away.
if a good answer it is, must be
faster than drawing
a weapon: the knife, the club, the cudgel,
the letting-go of the trap, of the stiletto,
of the thorn, or of the casting net for catching
the fish, and stealing
the notion in the air,
because, also, by silence,
indignation can be.
speak is compulsive:
the sounds, receiving them back,
the pulsation of the bells,
the echo to return
the words to return, for returning
— talk to oneself, why not?—-
guard us from the answers
say there is a legal customhouse
traveling abroad, the passport
knows, couldn'n it be
Sand Book, viejo Borges, the Argentinian?]
vast book of extensive,
for that one, the reply, quick,
ready on the tip of the tongue
- one cannot hesitate -
¿what shall I say, what do I vindicate? -
quicklime that burns in water
answer, if it does exist,
¿ who can assure you that h(H)e believed you ? -
dare one voice it
his interlucutor is terrible and impatient,
seems to make fun of it,
knows how to shake
head—his staring eyes fixed—
and left, his head and his smile,
on your trembling lips,
words and answers
are drowned in tears.
pair of pliers, the fingernail,
exile and the tongs ?!
incendiate, said Loiola...
can one set fire,
your choice: matches, napalm or gasoline ?
Better wet firewood, Bruno,
doesn't catch fire easily;
it moans, and smokes, and weeps,
and perhaps it might've given you:
rub two stiks together, to beat a night-long rhythm
gather the flame with slight breath and some little sticks
a lot of time
I need the answer
here, quick, the long-fire big tongue,
and the interlocking
now, now, for
soon shall i be the distant memory of a man,
nothing but the memory of one who
I been the accomplice of some tardiness,
the fool of some haste
— and the answer —
where the answer ?
In the haystack,
among the needles,
whitewash, mortar, caustic, chalice,
to keep quiet—
So I did keep quiet.
so many times,
it's really better to have the
he became silent «————————
worried about it
all, is was in fact an assassination)
may have forgotten to
of absolute mercy,
the danger of
His lordship the procurator
some time after the lavabo scene
was replaced by Marcellus,
because no one has ever escaped being
replaced, procurators included
gods too were replaced
the lions were generously fed.
obscure poem, the one of “J”, the Jahvist,
greatest one of all of them, prevailedand
been dismissing all the other gods and reducing
the other poems to ordinary literature.
gods and the poems of these lands,
on the october 12 1492, "after Him",
of those old gods, banished,
note really that bad, they say,
ruled over sunshine and rain,
enjoyed human sacrifices,
that hasn't made much diference:
have improved the techniques of killing
successfully— in his name
lordship the Procurator (the one of the question)
endeavored to alter history
he doesn't seem to have been a very bad person:
even tried hard—
mentioned by name,
sorrowfully at all, in a most beautiful prayer
milion times every day.
his lordship the procurator told
what "He had heard"
knows, some babblings talk only, after all
accused had suffered almost nothing
what he still had to undergo,
must have been
if He, the accused, ever responded
very low tones,
no trustworthy register
he heard it,
lordship the procurator
if he did tell,
have lost it,
have stolen it out,
have lost it all.
- BA, Brazil, late nigth, 09.07.95